Montana Physicians Assistant Programs

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Check current course listings for campus-based and online Physicians Assistant Programs available for Montana students.

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How to Become a Physician Assistant in Montana and Physician Assistant Programs in Montana

Physician assistants perform a wide range of tasks and carry far more responsibility than other types of medical assistants. A physician assistant is equipped to complete patient exams, order diagnostic tests, provide treatment, and even prescribe medications. The primary difference between a physician assistant and physician is that the assistant works under the supervision of a physician or surgeon in his or her field. Physician assistants do not carry a doctorate, but they are required to have a master's degree. If you're interested in learning how to become a physician assistant in Montana and physician assistant programs in Montana, you should be prepared for a rigorous course of study.

Montana has only one accredited school for physician assistants. Rocky Mountain College offers the only Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program in the state. This course of study takes 26 months to complete. The admission requirements for this program include a bachelor's degree with an emphasis on math and science courses, at least one completed course in medical terminology, and 2,000 hours of direct patient care. At least 1,000 hours of this should be completed at the time of application while the remainder can be completed in the time between application and admission. This equates to about one year of employment in a patient care setting.

Upon completion of the Rocky Mountain College Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, graduates will be prepared to sit for the certification exam. Physician assistants must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination in order to practice in Montana. Physician assistants must also apply to the Montana Board of Medical Examiners for licensure. A supervision agreement and duties and delegation agreement with a supervising physician are required before the assistant can begin to practice in a clinical environment. For additional support, PAs in the state can join the Montana Academy of Physician Assistants. This non-profit professional organization lobbies on behalf of physician assistants in the state.

National job growth for physician assistants is projected at 30 percent over the 2010 to 2020 decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of May, 2011, the annual mean salary for physician assistants in Montana was $60,190, or about $28,94 an hour. Physician assistants with earnings in the top ten percent of their field made more than $112,380 in Montana, while those in the bottom ten percent earned less than $63,690. Experience in the field and continuing education are contributors to a higher salary. Students who are interested in this field of study will find it difficult, but worthwhile.

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Montana State Board of Nursing
301 South Park
PO Box 200513
Helena, MT 59620-0513
Phone: (406) 841-2340
Fax: (406) 841-2305

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